Vaiaso Ote ‘Gana Tuvalu – Tuvalu Language Week

Tuvalu paddle

Fākatalofa atu! Warm greetings and welcome to our Vaiaso Ote ‘Gana Tuvalu, Tuvaluan Language Week events at Te Tumu Herenga.

Tuvalu is a Polynesian cultural-based group of eight islands; Tuvalu meaning eight standing together. Its language is very close to the Samoan language.

Tuvalu is halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, and with a population of 12,000 is one of the smallest countries in the world. The Tuvalu population in New Zealand at the 2013 Census was 3,537, over 70% of whom live in Auckland.

Tuvalu was formerly known as Ellice Islands when it was a British protectorate in 1892 and was annexed by Britain in 1915-16 as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony. Tuvalu became an independent nation in 1978.

Tuvalu is constantly in the news and often a topic of research due its severe vulnerability to climate change and rising sea levels which will eventually overwhelm this tiny Polynesian nation, with grave consequences for its people, culture, knowledge and language.

The theme for this year’s Language Week is Lakei Mo Te Manuia Ataeao, which means Striving for a prosperous future.

Tuvalu Language Week

The programme
Visit the display and try out the greeting and phrases. This a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Tuvalu, its history and our Tuvalu community at University and in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Plasma screen

  • Try using the Tuvalu greeting Talofa (same as Samoan) and the language phrases on slides.
    Daily during the week on plasma screens in the General Library, KEIC levels 1 & 3, Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library, Pacific Studies and Business School.

Display and resources

  • Visit the display on Tuvalu.
    29 September-5 October, General Library, Level G.
  • Check out the videos, films and documentaries on Tuvalu focussing on the impact of climate change on our Pacific neighbour.

More resources
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Ministry of Education TKI websites have a range of videos, dual language books, games, and other useful resources.

Te Tumu Herenga – Libraries and Learning Services


  • Betty commented on 01/10/2019

    Happy 41st Tuvalu independence anniversary – Tuvalu mote te Atua. Manuia te vaiaso o te gana Tuvalu – fakafetai lasi University of Auckland.

  • Bruce Williams commented on 03/10/2019

    Our University’s own research conducted over the last 40 years indicates that Tuvalu is actually growing despite the rise in sea levels, and that the new land is habitable. This seems very good news for the islands.

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